Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Barnardo's Say School Meals Are Responsible for Obesity

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Barnardo's Say School Meals Are Responsible for Obesity

Article excerpt

Children's charity Barnardo's says that 'society must reclaim responsibility for what our children eat'. The statement came at the launch of their report on school meals and children's eating habits, 'Burger Boy and Sporty Girl', in London last November.

The report studied 174 children aged four to 15 years in nine UK schools. Barnardo's examined the choices presented to the pupils, the reasons behind their choices and the nutritional content of the meals.

Professor Tim Lang, who chaired the launch event, said: "What's lovely about this report is that it puts children's views at the heart of the debate."

The findings upheld Professor Lang's self-proclaimed 'deeply unpopular' view that the more choice children and young people have, the less likely they are to eat a healthy, nutritionally-balanced meal.

The report found strongly embedded notions about eating habits, from an expectation for children to prefer unhealthy options, to gender and incomerelated stereotypes of dietary choice. In particular, a healthy meal was seen as being eaten only by an unpopular 'goody-goody' girl (the 'sporty girl' of the report's title). These stereotypes are compounded by the media and food advertising. …

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